Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Blazin' Challenge

I thought I'd post a quick blog on my activities last night. I went to Buffalo Wild Wings with Michelle and our friend Thomas and took the Blazin' Challenge! Just me, mind you. Michelle and Thomas opted out. :) If you've never heard of the Blazin' Challenge, let me explain. You have to eat 12 of their traditional wings (Meaning fried, bone-in) smothered in their Blazin' Sauce. It's the hottest sauce they have. They give you 6 minutes and the following rules:
  1. You must first sign a waiver releasing Buffalo Wild Wings from liability in any injury or death that may occur.
  2. No Drinks until the challenge ends.
  3. No Napkins until the challenge ends.
  4. The bones must be cleaned completely with the mouth only.
  5. You have 6 minutes to eat all 12 wings.
  6. If you throw up, you're disqualified.

That's it in a nutshell. So I ordered my wings, and when they were ready, the store manager came out to time me, and off I went!

Let me interject here with a little Hot Sauce tutorial if you aren't that familiar with how they're rated for hotness. The scale used to rate hot sauce is called the Scoville Scale. The sauces are measured in Scoville Units. The number basically tells you how much a sauce has to be diluted before it is no longer detectably hot to the taste. It isn't a perfect rating, but it's a good ballpark. Anyway, the hottest sauce I have ever tried is made by the Pepper Palace in Gatlinburg, TN. It is called "The Hottest Sauce in The World" and weighs in at approximately 1,000,000 Scoville units. I tried it with my friend Eric years ago and we both had to sit down and cry from 1/8 Teaspoon on a cracker. About a 15 minute burn that built slowly over the course. Not your grandmother's hot sauce. (Or maybe it is if your grandmother is related to Popeye or something.)

I did some looking around, and Buffalo Wild Wings' Blazin' Sauce registers at around 300,000 Scoville Units. About a third as hot as my hottest sauce ever. The catch? I had to eat a LOT of it. But I was fairly certain that I could pull it off.

So the timer started and off I went. The heat was a little delayed. I was on my third or fourth wing before I really started to feel anything. (Incidentally, the Blazin' Sauce has a good flavor, along with the heat. Tasty sauce if you're into it.)

About wing 7 it started to get pretty intense. Oddly, it wasn't so much blinding heat, but rather a kind of rolling electrical feeling. If you've ever been shocked by a light socket or outlet you'll know what I mean. It felt like a sort of heavy tingle everywhere the sauce touched my face and lips. At wing 8 or 9 my vision narrowed a little bit and my ears started to ring, but it wasn't excruciatingly painful. really just a slow intense burn. Nothing I couldn't handle. The other sensations were interesting though. I'd never had enough really hot sauce to experience that before. More disorienting than painful.

By the time I finished my 12th wing, (at 3:30 by the way) The sensations weren't getting any worse. Everything had peaked (Or so I thought). My official time was recorded on a Polaroid and hung on the Wall of Fame, out of the way, by the bathrooms. :) You can go to BW3 in Ironton and find me there. I also was allowed to buy a survivor T-Shirt for $5. (Allowed to buy a survivor t-shirt. C'mon. I risked life and limb! can't you spot me a t-shirt?)

After the challenge, the heat continued for about 10 minutes, and then peaked. 20 minutes later I was completely cool again. :) That was fun. And more than a little stupid I have to say.

So at the end of the night I had earned a $5 T-Shirt, a place of honor near the bathrooms, and the respect of literally tens of people as my name was announced over the loud speaker as a survivor of the Blazin' Challenge. I have it straight from Thomas also that he didn't think I would pull it off, and that he was proud of me. And if a little hot sauce isn't worth the pride and respect of your friends, then I don't know what is.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

GenCon 2009

Hello all, and it's time once again for a new blog entry! Today's topic? GenCon 2009! Many of you may already know that Michelle, Mike and Jenn and I took a little trip up to Indianapolis a few weeks back to attend one of the largest gaming conventions in the country. It is attended by thousands upon thousands of gamers, anime fans, cosplayers and various other social minorities! :) I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to explain how we were able to attend this convention. It would have been quite expensive to pay for the room, the food, the badges and everything else, but we were able to go essentially for free thanks to one of the games that has become a staple of GenCon. We volunteered to help run True Dungeon. True Dungeon, most simply put, is a live action Dungeons and Dragons style game, where the players are put into a full size labyrinthine series of rooms, in which lie dangers untold and hardships unnumbered. We went out to Illinois earlier in the year to actually play the game, volunteered then to help run it at GenCon and were selected, which meant the room was paid for, the convention badge was paid for, and the food was paid for. Add that to the fact that my company graciously allows me some personal mileage on my company car with the gas covered, and how can you NOT go to GenCon? :) So, True Dungeon was all kinds of fun. It is run by a lot of really personable, hard working people who are focused on making sure that their customers are going to have a great time! The four of us spent most of our time as NPCs, or Non-Player Characters, meaning we were costumed and interacting with the players. I was in this costume most of the time: That's not actually me, and the paint is now a little different, but this is a foam suit painted to look like stone. They added some red and UV paint to make it a Fire Elemental costume. The rest of the time, I was under a table waiting to scare people by thrusting my hand up through a glove and out of a bowl of glowing liquid. I remember thinking: "I'm not sure how I ended up crammed in this tiny box with my hand sticking up through a table." Bet you were wondering when I'd work that in there. :) Long story short, fun and more than a little bit stuffy, but a good time! Thanks to the TD crew for allowing us to participate! Alright, so the rest of the time, when we weren't working at True Dungeon, there was a whole big convention for us to enjoy! I've posted a lot of pictures on my gallery for you to see. As we all had the opportunity, we got to roam the exhibition hall, which was absolutely huge, and packed with game vendors for anything you can imagine. RPGs, Board, Card and Video games and their corresponding merchandise like shirts and such. I had never been to a convention or conference in which I was the target demographic, and so it was really hard not to walk around with my mouth open gaping at everything. While there we did a couple of other things related to the convention. We attended the zombie walk, which is pretty much just what it sounds like; A lot of people, who are dressed as zombies, walking. Kind of a zombie parade. You'll see a few pictures of our costumes as well as some of the other stand out zombies as well in the gallery. We also attended a Masquerade. This too was a costumed affair. Michelle and I went for a classic Italian masquerade look, and Mike and Jenn tried their hand at steampunk to great effect. So, I can't truly speak for everyone else, but I had a fantastic time at GenCon. I have never felt out of place where I live, but being in a city full of gamers and geeks like myself for a few days was kind of like a "homecoming" experience. I was pleased to find that the ages varied all over the place, and most everyone was friendly and polite and that this mass collection of gamers in general was a good collection of people who represented the demographic as well as could be. It was also a lot of fun to put on an obscure shirt and have people get it. :) Here's what I mean. Michelle and I were walking the floor in a couple of shirts from, and someone from the site saw us. They were walking about taking pictures of people wearing their products and we ended up on the site in a blog post! That's right. Internet Famous. Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that this is not the first time I've been Internet Famous. Thanks again Brandon! Ok, I'm getting to the point where I'm starting to feel like the post is long enough. Maybe too long. Looking forward to GenCon 2010! I think True Dungeon will have us back, so how can we NOT go? :) Talk to you soon! -Jon